Friday, August 27, 2010

Cody Wood talks Rob and his Water for Elephants experience

Cody Wood talks Robert Pat­tin­son, Rosie the ele­phant, Christoph and more in his expe­ri­ence as a Water for Ele­phants extra.

In uni­son every­one watch­ing gasped. The noise of our breath was loud and vis­i­bly star­tled the lion back to the dark­ness. The cage rolled on mak­ing room for the star of the parade: Rosie. Wear­ing a shim­mer­ing head­band she lum­bered down the street. Her trunk swayed back and forth, back and forth. Chil­dren laughed with excite­ment and pointed from the win­dow of the candy store. A man next to me lit a hand-rolled cig­a­rette. I gave a big holler to Rosie and clapped my hands. Back and forth, and back and forth, she lum­bered. I rested my right leg on the bumper of an old two-door Ford — a relic from an era passed.

“Great job ladies and gen­tle­men!” “Back to the top!” The AD had the mega­phone again — and for good rea­son. All of the cages, carts, clowns, and cir­cus ani­mals turned around and walked back to their start­ing posi­tions. Christoph and Rob slipped into the parade with­out fan­fare. On the next take the two actors walked near each other but not too near. There was a vis­i­ble ten­sion between them, espe­cially now that Mar­lena sat atop her prized Rosie. She looked stun­ning in her sil­ver shim­mer­ing cos­tume and waved at the crowd. She looked my direc­tion and I waved back. Who knows, maybe she was look­ing at me?

The parade con­tin­ued on for a cou­ple of hours before we returned to our tents and I drank six Dixie Cups of ice water. Some of the Rubes sat in cir­cles and talked, oth­ers went to sleep in the grass. I paced. I wanted more. When the next call came I was first in line.We fol­lowed the AD back down to the street and gath­ered around the cor­ner con­ve­nience store. I won­dered why they had so many water­mel­ons. A middle-aged Asian man stood high-up on a lad­der in cargo shorts and a sweaty t-shirt. He wore a faded blue base­ball cap fas­tened down by an over-sized pair of head­phones and held a ten foot long boom mic over the crowd. “Ok folks, make some room!” Out of thin air, Rosie appeared and was walk­ing toward the mid­dle of the crowd. We imme­di­ately split and cleared a path. Once she was in posi­tion I was so close I could reach out and touch her hind leg.

“Thank you for your patience folks. Here is what’s going to hap­pen. Tai (Rosie) is going to be eat­ing the water­mel­ons and Rob and Camel are going to come and take her away. When she starts to back up, make sure you.…” Ptth­hh­mmpppp. Silence. Laugh­ter. “Ewwww,” a group of peo­ple groaned at once. The Rubes directly behind Tai took a few steps back and cov­ered their mouths. Ele­phant fart.

Once every­one regained their com­po­sure the film­ing began. My job was to look enthralled by the fact there was an ele­phant eat­ing at the con­ve­nience store. How could I not be? Jacob and Camel pushed their way through the crowd and attempted to lure Rosie away with the smell of whiskey. This turned out to be harder than they’d imag­ined. In between takes Rob stood com­fort­ably in the back of the crowd. He had an unde­ni­able com­po­sure and worked dili­gently to make the scene the best it pos­si­bly could be. He inspired all of us to give our best until the sun began to set.

Read his full expe­ri­ence here

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